Being published by a micropress has its drawbacks, mainly a dearth of distribution and promotion. I like to have my books available in paper for the few who decide to take one, but mainly I sell them at outdoor festivals and book events. Most of my mysteries and thrillers (now ten) are sold as ebooks. And since I decided to cast my lot with Amazon KDP, they're only available in the Kindle Store.
I have used their free days almost monthly over the past year to promote sales. KDP allows you to give a book away for five out of every ninety days. Despite how it sounds, the act of giving away books has a definite effect on book sales. The practice has brought less results as time progressed for several reasons. One has to do with the fact that more and more authors are using the free days route. There are several dozen Internet sites that promote free ebooks, but they get so many requests now that they limit what they do or charge for the service.
I have used several sites in recent months, paying from $5 to $25 for guaranteed listings. When I first began the practice, my books sold well after the three free days (that seems the most effective period) for two weeks or more. Not just the book that had been free, but the rest of my backlist. However, for the past few months, the lingering effect has been much shorter.
Recently I've read posts by my colleagues on some promo sites about their use of BookBub.com. It sends out an email to its list of thousands of readers daily, promoting from two to four ebooks that are either free or on sale at a discount such as 99 cents. This one is not for the faint of heart. For mysteries that are free, the price is $240. For mysteries priced at $1 to $2, it's $720. They claim 700,000 subscribers to the mystery email list and show average downloads of 18,000.
If things go as expected (at least hoped), Designed to Kill should sell hundreds of copies in the coming days, while the other books in the series continue to do well. The theory is that if readers like the free book, they'll come back to buy the others. I've already gotten three new four-star and one five-star reviews since the giveaway began. People who take part in these promotions are good about writing reviews on Amazon.
I'll post in a couple of weeks how the after-effect turns out. Has anybody else tried this approach? How were your results?